I read this book over the weekend. A few thoughts:
1) Very good treatment of religion. Harsh criticism of faith-based brutality mediated by a genuine understanding of the nature of faith. There is a part near the end that captures the essence of what losing a strong religious faith is like perfectly:
He knew exactly what he now believed, because it was exactly what he had rejected until now. He'd stepped out of shattered armour not naked and shivering, but fully clothed. It was as if his new world-view had all along been inside the armour and being kept in, rather than outside and being kept out.
2) Very plausible treatment of sentient robots. Probably the best treatment I've seen in a while. The key point that MacLeod makes is that yer typical sentient robot is likely to have a superior theory of mind to yer typical sentient animal. Therefore robots are likely to be kinder, gentler, and more empathetic than humans.
The book is strongly recommended, being well-written, and the characters spend a lot of time talking in pubs. There is little and life that could not be improved by spending more time talking in pubs. Certainly Stephen Baxter's work would gain a lot.
[pic borrowed from here]